If you’ve ever stood in a wine shop and been baffled at the array of confusing words on a champagne label - you’re not alone.
Apart from Rosé vs. the regular golden colour, not much else is super obvious. Here we’re going to break it down for you.
Using the below information and lots of taste testing (such a chore) you can start to build out what your personal preferences are linked to.
Vintage and Non-Vintage
Vintage - refers to the year in which grapes used in the champagne making were grown and picked. Vintage champagnes must be made only of grapes from a single year named on the label. Vintage champagne is often perceived to be a higher quality but this is not always true.
Non-Vintage - a blend of grapes from across various vintages to provide a continuous house style. Producers will often have a large array of non-vintage types - for example, a blend of the highest quality grapes from across different vintages.
Blanc De Blancs
Blanc de Blancs Champagne is made entirely from white grapes, nearly always Chardonnay.
Blanc de Blancs have great aging potential thanks to the natural acidity from the chardonnay grapes. The most famous examples tend to come from the Grand Cru villages of the Côte des Blancs.
Blanc De Noir
Quite literally white from black - white wine made from black grapes .For Champagne that will be from either Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier.
Where Blanc de Blancs comes in dry and light, a Blanc de Noir can be fuller and more robust. As well as the classic champagne flavours it will likely feature more red fruit flavours.
Our favourite pink bubbles can be made in two different ways...
Nearly all rosé Champagne is made by adding a small amount of red wine to white Champagne. The more wine, the darker pink colour you’ll get. Within Europe, this specific method for making rosé is only allowed to be used in Champagne.
The alternative method is known as the saignée method is the method of macerating the wine juice with the grape skins in order to impart colour. This contact with the grape skins is what gives the deep, vibrant pink as seen in still and sparkling rosés.
Most houses will have a variant of a Prestige Cuvée - top of the range, the wines they consider the very best expression of what they have to offer.